Thursday, July 31, 2014

Time To Turn the Page

Each of us are a story in the making.  With each sunrise God blesses us, the page is turned and the story continues with yet another interesting page.  Remember the story books with cassette tapes we had in years gone by, "when you here the chimes sound like this (ding! - ringing chime sound), you know it's time to turn the page."  You could look at the pictures while being read to aloud or you could follow along reading yourself; whichever you preferred.  I think I just liked to look at the pictures for the most part! 
Our life is like one of these little books, at the end of each day there is a ringing chime reminding us that this day is over...God says it's time to turn the page for a fresh start.  Yet so often, (again I'm guilty of this too!) we're so absorbed with looking at the pictures on the page of our life that we don't hear the chimes ring.  What happened yesterday might have you baffled, you may have failed in some way even let down or disappointed by someone; but there's good can turn the page. (ding!)  Today is a new day, there is a new page to be written...only by the grace of God.  What a gift!  Take advantage of this new day, this clean page and allow God to help you write more of your beautiful story.   (*DING*) It's time to turn the page!

*As in any book, there will be chapters with conflicts for we can't live in this life without tests and trials and even times of grieving.  However, every chapter has to have a last page!  Hold on to that hope if you're in one of those chapters!  Don't close the book, just keep turning the pages....(ding!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Smile On Purpose

While they might not be on today's Top 10 list, there have been some great songs written down through the ages.  They still carry meaning and they will pop into your mind at times.  Thus the phrase, "Oldie but goodie!"  This morning I woke up with an old one on my mind...Shut In With God. 
Shut in with God in a secret place
Here in His presence, beholding His face
Gaining new power to run in this race
I long to be shut in with God
Now...I imagine you'll find yourself humming this oldie somewhere throughout  your day.  (You know how that happens...can't get it out of your head.)  The most obvious part of this song is about being in the presence of God; but, I wanted to take another spin on it today as it crossed my mind.  The words "beholding His face." 
I don't know about you, when someone sends a smile my way, it makes me feel good.  It's a simple gesture but an oh-so-powerful one.  (I will add here, a gesture I continually have to remind myself to use!  ;) There, I did it!  I have to work harder at times than others! lol  Keeping it real!!!)  Smile - to look with favor or approval.  I don't know about you, but if you're a normal human, there is an inborn desire in you to have favor and approval.  It's as natural as wanting an ice cream cone on a hot summer day!  OK, back to the song..."beholding His face"...when I think of looking into God's face - I think of Him smiling at me.  There's nothing more beautiful than this mental picture.  How can we think about it without being encouraged and uplifted, without "gaining new power"? 
While it's a  wonderful thing to share a smile and it be returned by someone you love, how much more is it to gain the smile of God?  The One that matters more than anyone else!  What a thought...God is smiling at YOU today.  Will you return His smile?  You might ask are just a few ideas.
1) send up your praise,
2) do something kind for someone without expecting anything in return,
3) share His love story with someone new
How many times have you been walking through a store or restaurant, you smiled at someone and they immediately smiled back?  It happens is a gift.  A simple one we can give over and over.  It makes both parties feel good - the smiler and the return-smiler.  :)   It's a small thing which can be done without much effort yet it has the power to change someone's day.  I challenge you (and myself) to smile on purpose today.  At least 3 times today...find someone to smile at and see what happens in return.  Allow your smile to give someone the courage to keep going today....which makes me think of yet another oldie, "God has smiled on me, He has set me free..." my friend, this could go on all day. 
Blessings on you...and the persons you smile at today :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Just Because He Can

There are days in life when we wake up and our bodies are telling us that something's not quite right inside.  We feel less than whole!  No matter how extreme our routine is to take care of our bodies, no matter how many vitamins or medications we take, how healthy we may eat, how habitual our exercise routine is...sometimes we can't help ourselves and our body does it's own thing.  It's in times like these that we realize just how powerless we are.  (It's during these times that the enemy steps in and will try to wreak havoc in our lives and make us question our Maker.)  As much as we want to be "in control" of our lives and have a handle on everything...there's only One who actually does.  JUST BECAUSE HE CAN!
When we're shaken to the core and feel like we're physically reeling out of control...God is still all-powerful, all-knowing, and He knows where we're at and how we're feeling.  At times He moves on our behalf instantly, sometimes in stages, and sometimes we may feel like He isn't working on our behalf at all.  During these times we may feel like we're all alone, insecure, too weak, and frankly, just sick of being sick and tired. Unfortunately (at least that's how we think it), He doesn't always do it the way we think it should be done.  JUST BECAUSE HE CAN!
Since He's God, He has the unique ability to see what we can't.  He knows what we need to learn from every experience.  He has a plan for our spiritual growth.  He knows how much we can take.  He knows what kind of vessel He desires for us to be.  Also, no matter what it may look or feel like...He has the final say so on every situation we face in this lifetime.  Sometimes He will deliver us from, sometimes we have to go through.  It doesn't always make sense in our finite minds, but He does ALL things perfect and He can't make a mistake.  In other words, He knows what He's doing and He's working it this way ...JUST BECAUSE HE CAN!
Look for His fingerprints in your dilemma!  He leaves them everywhere if we'll just be observant and believe He's there.  I know this because it happened just yesterday for me.  It wasn't an instantaneous undertaking and I didn't feel 100%, but God had heard my prayers and knew exactly where I was physically and mentally. His fingerprint came in the form of a text message which was "not received".  He went out of His way to be sure that I knew without a doubt that He was in control.  So, while I didn't feel like my prayers were reaching the ceiling, He answered a way that I couldn't deny it was Him.  JUST BECAUSE HE CAN!
I challenge you today...let go and let God.  Look for His fingerprints in every area of your life.  He is there and in control, there's no telling what He'll do in your case...JUST BECAUSE HE CAN.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Slimy Can't Win

If you're glad to have the GOD on your side, can I hear an "AMEN!"...what would we ever do without Him?  Everything in life can change in the blink of an eye!  One phone call, one accident...a thought, an action...
My mind ponders a verse in Psalms this morning...I love Psalms!  Chapter 46, verse 1: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."  I read it through once, then I went back and read it more slowly, after which I read it yet a third time and looked at each word individually. 
GOD!!!!  What a great way to begin, don't  you think?  He is our refuge, or shelter.  I don't know about you but when there's a crashing storm raging outside, I want to be inside where it's safe...away from any harm produced by the storm.  God is that!  He is our safe place and we can trust that!!! While we may be going through a storm, He never takes His eyes off of us and He knows exactly where we are.  It doesn't stop there however.  God is our strength...some days the storm leaves me so weak I don't know if I could take on a slimy snail, much less anything any larger or more ferocious.  But, on those days I can rest in knowing God's got my back.  When I can't muster up enough boldness and power to even frighten Slimy the Snail, God IS my strength (boldness, loud, might, power).  Yes, God is present...we never have to worry if He's hung up in the "good ole days" or if He's "back to the future" - we can always rest assured in knowing God is a right now God.  He will "help" us.  With all His might and glory, God is still capable of holding us tenderly as a mother does her newborn child.  Just think of all the tenderness, affection and love she bestows on that little one; God will do us the same way during our troubles or trials.  Hear Him whisper in your ear right now..."I've got this, you're going to be alright."  That's the beautiful thing about the God I serve...He covers every part of the spectrum.
So, if today is one of those days when Slimy the Snail is winning the race; put your hand into the hand of a wonderful God who will give you strength and hold you close, who will fight for you, who will never leave or forsake you...He's committed.  Give Slimy a run for his money during the storms of life.  All he can do is hole up in his dark, lonely shell, while you can rest safely in the loving embrace of the Almighty God.  Slimy CAN'T WIN but we can be victorious!!! Let the thunder roll....can I get an "AMEN!" 

Blessings to all~

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I Just Live Here

"I just live here!"  The thought of that phrase coming from one of my precious teens took my breath away and made me want to pull my hair out (not literally, lol)...and then the Lord provoked me at the same time in a totally different light. 
The Bible says we're in this world but not of this world, right?  However, we can't just "live here" and have the mentality that we're just here doing our own thing, coming and going with no responsibility.  You know the thinking...we're here with our own agenda, doing what we want to do, nothing else matters, etc.   While it is true, we are not of this world, we are in it and we must realize and take responsibility that everything we do, every comment and action, no matter how big or small, whether right or wrong - has an effect on someone around us.   We can't stick our head into the proverbial sand and think that we are an island to ourselves.  How's that for those low times when we're feeling like we're ineffective or don't make a difference?  ALERT!!!  You DO!!! 
As mature adults, we are able to reason and think in a more balanced way - most of the time.   While my teen is sort of naive to the whole "adult" mentality thing at this point in life, it will eventually kick into the right mode and the light will come on.  However, we as Christians need to constantly remember that we are ambassadors for Christ and our conduct should reflect Him whether working, shopping, or having leisure time.   I remember someone comparing our lives to open books read by all men...hmm, think that might have been in the Good Book, huh?
Being on guard constantly and being sure to respond in a positive way every time takes a lot of persistence and constant work.  It doesn't just HAPPEN!  It also WON'T happen without the help of God.  I'm not saying we'll do it perfect every time, and by no means am I trying to say I've got this mastered - far from it.  I just wanted to give us something to think about today that will ultimately affect our future.  Being a Christian isn't a costume that we put on for church on's got to be a way of life.  Because after all, we don't just LIVE HERE!  Someone is watching you and your life is touching someone else...just a thought. :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

God's Gotta Do Something

"God's gotta do something!" I exclaimed in frustration, pain and exhaustion.  You know as well as I that there are times we're in so deep over our heads that we can't see the reality of it all....God is doing something.  God isn't somewhere sitting idly by as we go through this life suffering pain, rejection, loss, etc.  We're all human and none of us like to be used, abused or played like a pawn from a chess board.  Yet, sometimes that's just where we find ourselves because we don't take into consideration who we are and who He is. 
I was reminded of a familiar chapter this morning, one we all know and can probably most likely quote from memory.  Psalm 23.  "The Lord is my shepherd..." that's really the only phrase needed in this chapter.  A "shepherd" means "a person who herds, tends and guards; a person who protects, guides and watches over."  That pretty much wraps up all that we need in this life, doesn't it?  And yet, do we have the audacity to make it personable?  Are we brave enough to claim it for ourselves...or is it just a poem we know well enough to quote?  
I know God is patient and long-suffering, but I wonder if there are times when He might be screaming out, "I am DOING something, open your eyes, take notice!  It's time for YOU to do something."  All the while we're like one of those petting zoo ponies being led around and around the's our comfort zone and we'll keep going around and around out of habit, even though we're not tied up any longer and desire a change.  Sometimes we have to be brave enough to step out of our comfort zone and rely on God to do what He does best.  He can't be our Shepherd if we won't allow Him to!
There's so much more to say about this, but I want to keep it short...allow God to be your Shepherd today and do what He does best, everything else will fall in place.  Turn "God's gotta do something!" into "Look what my Shepherd did for me!"  All that we need can be found in Him!  His Word cannot fail...that's Him doing something! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Box of Chocolates

I suppose life really can be related to a box of never know what a day will might be to your liking, it might not.  One thing is for certain however, if you're heart is in the right place, you can look on the bright side - you always have yummy chocolate on the outside to enjoy!  Yes, no matter what a day may bring, Jesus will be the covering!  You can enjoy peace and contentment today - regardless.  So thankful for such a God, so thankful I serve Him and HE loves me...even on the yucky days! :)  Yes, life just may be like a box of chocolates, but oh! what a blessing!

One more thing...never have a chocolate without sharing it with a friend!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Beauty Worth the Wait

It's a beautiful thing when God begins to unfold a rose, it's always beautiful and right.  I've always loved that song!  Nobody can do it like the Lord...and only the Lord can do it.  What a beautiful thing it is!  It may take what seems like eternity for the bud to form, then to begin to bloom until you can finally see it in full blossom, it's a process though and only God knows the right timing.  Of one thing you can always be sure however, when the time is right and the process is finished, there's beauty and sweet aroma that's undeniable.  A prize-winner!!!
And that's exactly how God works in our lives.  It may not come as quickly as we want it, it may be more painful than we think it should, and we may wonder if it will ever happen at all on some days.  Yet, rest assured that as long as you place yourself in the kind and caring hands of God, He is bound to make it come to pass.  In His time He makes all things beautiful: you WILL come out of the place you feel stuck in and you WILL bring Him glory in the process.  It's all about Him!  What a blessing it is to know that we can wait upon Him.  And as I shared with one of my teens last week, "waiting" isn't being passive and doing nothing - waiting is actively seeking the Lord's face, serving in His Kingdom and living the best we can for Him during the process.  It's not a time to just sit and do nothing! (That's my amplified version anyhow! lol) 
When it finally becomes your time, you will be able to look back and know that God's Word is true, He IS faithful and that is was well worth the wait...yes, I said it: "IT WILL BE WELL WORTH THE WAIT!!!"  Be encouraged, beautiful things and moments take time...and God.  Trust Him today to do what only He can do...and don't forget to do your part in the waiting room of life.  Blessings to all~

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cake in the Valley

It’s hard to see, in the middle of the darkest night, that God has a plan and a purpose for the valley. Yet it’s in those darkest nights when you’re in the pit of despair that God does His greatest work.  When you’re in the heat of the fight, something could very well be being birthed within you.  Think about it like this:  when you put a cake in the oven, you set the timer and walk away.  It’s dark and extremely hot inside the oven but you never worry because you know something’s happening inside and that you’ll soon have a delicious cake to enjoy.  This is just how God works, except He NEVER walks away while we’re in our trials!  He patiently watches over us, protecting and over-seeing the progress.  Although we may be afraid of the dark, and the heat may be overwhelming at times, we can know without a doubt that God is faithful and a Master Baker…He can make something beautiful, He has a plan!  We might not enjoy the process, but if we’ll keep pressing on when it’s all said and done we can enjoy the reward of a cake in the valley.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

It Will Be...

It's amazing the freedom that our sweet Jesus offers to us.  There's nothing like basking in the embrace of His arms and knowing that He knows everything there is to know about you, He loves you more than you can ever imagine and He's got you right where He wants you at this present moment.  No matter what stage of life you may find yourself at today, rest in knowing that your Creator, the One who is crazy about you and wants to see you prosper, has you in the palm of His hand.  No matter how low you may be feeling, He's there!  No matter how lonely you may be feeling, you're not alone - He's there!  And, know this, as long as He's there everything WILL BE alright.  There's not a circumstance or person which can take that away from you.  It WILL BE WELL with your soul!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sifted Into Greatness

Peter loved Jesus and was determined that he would go with Jesus all the way to death.  His love was real! He believed in Jesus!  He walked with Jesus!  He did the best he could!  Yet Jesus knew, in Peter’s humanity that this loyal disciple would fall.

In fact, Jesus had already told Peter beforehand that Satan “hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:” but He had prayed for him “that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." Jesus even told Peter that “the cock shall not crow this day,before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.”   We may sometimes look at this as a“warning” for Peter; but could it be that Jesus was giving Peter permission not to be perfect?
Jesus knew Peter was going to falter.  That Peter would be discouraged.  That he would be disappointed that he had let Jesus down.  Jesus knew that Peter would be weak and almost lose out.  That he would feel like a failure and want to go back to his boat.  Jesus knew all this about Peter,yet He had a plan to use even this weak vessel – “upon this rock” - to glorify Himself.
No matter how determined in our spirit we may feel at times.  No matter how “together” we may feel we have it, no matter our best efforts; we, in our humanity and weaknesses, are going to fail at times.  Remember, the God who created us, also put us on this earth with certain strengths and weaknesses for a reason.  He can use our strengths, like He did Peter’s loud mouth and boldness to preach the gospel for His glory; however, He also has the ability to use even our weaknesses.
Peter “followed afar off” after Jesus had told him what would happen.  The same disciple who had walked close to Jesus’ side, the same man who had went a “little further” in the garden to pray with Jesus on that dreadful night, this mighty man of God…could he have been disheartened at the possibility of failing his Master. 
True to Jesus’ words, which cannot fail, Peter denied Jesus three times that night and was devastated.  He “went out, and wept bitterly.”  Yes, he was likely grieving the events which were taking place however, I imagine he wept these bitter tears out of shame and regret at his own actions…ashamed,embarrassed, and humiliated!  He had walked with the Master and heard all His teachings…yet here he was messing up!
Satan will flaunt every weakness within you before your eyes.  He will make you intensely aware of them until all hope for anything positive is blurred out of the picture of your life.  He continues sifting you as wheat, telling you that “you are a failure and you’ll never get it right.”  The road he’s leading you down has a big, red “I QUIT!” sign at the end of it.
 It’s so simple though.  Jesus didn’t beat Peter over the head with the fact that he had weakness in his life.  Jesus understood Peter’s human heart, his intentions, He saw the possibilities and gave Peter a chance to “miss the mark.”  This isn’t a permit for us to continually fail, but to realize that when we do, God doesn’t count us out.  There are a lot of people out there who fail and feel they can never measure up and be what God intends for them to be. What better thing for them to know and hear than that you were caught in that sort of trap…and have been victorious… “and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” By this will the Lord be glorified!  Remember,the Lord says “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”  I can tell you this now…because I’ve been there and have the T-shirt to prove it.  Let's be sifted into greatness!